Don't Blow Out Your KneePosted on Feb 18th 2009 7:00AM by Fitz K.
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Q. Well, they say this is the spot to drop your questions for Fitz, so here goes! I am an avid kickboxer, and have been doing it for four months steady now. I attend a group class with actual bags to punch and kick, and we use gloves and shin guards, etc. However, because it is a class of 30 of us or so with one trainer, we don't always get the individual attention that is required. So here's my question. The trainer is always saying to pivot on the foot while doing roundhouse kicks, side kicks, etc. How do you do this properly? We perform kick boxing in bare feet on rubber flooring, so to twist one's foot while balanced on one leg with no slide at all (our foot tends to grip on rubber mats so it doesn't twist easily). My fear is that I am seriously going to hurt myself by keeping my leg static while throwing a kick with the other. The instructor seems to do it with no issues at all, and I watch him closely, but I don't know how he manages it! Thanks, Missy
A. Thanks for the soft ball, Missy. You probably know I fought competitively as a kickboxer for almost 10 years, and I am the Fitness Director for the International Sport Kickboxing Association, so I will happily answer your question. Pivoting is important, because if you don't do it, you could blow out a knee. The kicks you mentioned require you to twist your body for power. If you are not light on your feet and allow the base foot to pivot while kicking, something will have to give.
Training barefoot on a rubber mat is actually one of the most desirable ways to train, because sneakers and carpet create drag. What I recommend you do is spend as much time on the balls of your feet as possible. I'm sure your trainer probably yells "get light on your feet" about a million times, so when you hear it ... do it. This will make it less difficult to allow your base heel to follow your hips. If you throw your right leg roundhouse kick and your body moves to the left, allow your left heel to go too. If you're on the balls of your feet, pivoting will be a piece of cake.
I've not only trained about a million people to kickbox, but tons of other athletes as well. Tennis, baseball, football and soccer players all need to know the art of pivoting. Ask any one of those athletes if their coaches harass them about footwork, and I bet you every last one will say yes.
My last suggestion is to get a little more comfortable with your instructor. It's his job to teach you proper skills and your safety is his responsibility. He may not know you're confused on this subject; I bet if he did, he'd be happy provide an explanation. I've always been open to chatting with students after classes and seminars; most instructors are. Kickboxing is a fantastic sport and fitness activity, and I hope you stick with it for a long time. Hands up, chin down, stay light on your feet and Get to Work!
Punches & Kicks,
Note: The content presented in this Q. & A section is for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as medical advice or substitute for professional medical care.